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RBA scrutinises Australia’s “dated” payments system

Tuesday, 29 May | By Michelle Hammond

The Reserve Bank says Australia’s electronic payments system is failing to meet customers’ expectations, with RBA governor Glenn Stevens saying parts of the infrastructure are “a bit dated”.


In an address to the Australian Payments Clearing Association, Stevens said customers “expect to be able to download music or a book while they are sitting on the bus”, but this expectation was not always met when it came to electronic payments.


“It is very clear that both individuals and businesses are demanding greater immediacy and greater accessibility in all facets of their day-to-day activities,” Stevens said.


“This includes payments.”


However, Stevens said the payment services offered by individual institutions are limited by the existing technology that governs payments.


“If a business wishes to make timely use of the proceeds from a large shipment, or an individual is in need of emergency assistance from a government agency, options are very limited,” he said.


According to Stevens, the Australian system is outdated when compared to systems for real-time transfers available in countries ranging from the United Kingdom to Mexico.


“It is our belief that availability of real-time transfers would fill some important existing gaps, but would also open up enormous potential for innovation on top of that system,” Stevens said.


Here are three innovative payments systems you may not have heard of:


1. Mobino


Mobino is a European-wide mobile payment system, which isn’t dependent on credit cards or telecom operators.


Connected directly to banks in 32 countries, Mobino lets users pay online or offline with a simple phone call and voice guidance.


Security is guaranteed by decoupling the payment channel from the buying channel. Usage is free for consumers, while merchants are charged competitive fees.


2. gotoBilling


Rather than having multiple systems and multiple providers to meet merchants’ various payment processing needs, gotoBilling does it all with a single log-in.


gotoBilling originated from an unmet need. Its founder, Steve Roderick, worked in the payment processing industry for more than 10 years.


Roderick became frustrated with the need to have to string together several products to meet the varying needs of merchants.


He had to work with several different vendors, learn multiple systems, teach multiple systems to his merchants, and deal with a number of different support programs and groups.


He wanted one solution to meet all the varying needs of increasingly sophisticated merchants. When he couldn’t find such a solution, he decided to create gotoBilling.


3. TranzWare Online


Developed by Compass Plus, TranzWare Online enables the secure processing of all types of transactions made with multiple card types via all delivery channels.


It can also drive and monitor a vast set of terminal devices – all on a single platform.


In addition to traditional functionalities, TranzWare Online incorporates unique features to aid product customisation, making customers “the true owners of the system”.